Report: breast-feeding saves lives, medical costs - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Report: breast-feeding saves lives, medical costs

CHICAGO (WKOW) -- A startling analysis of the effect of low breast-feeding rates: researchers say the lives of nearly 900 babies could be saved every year if more women breast-fed.

The report, which appears in the online version of the journal Pediatrics, says if 90 percent of new moms breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, infant deaths would decrease and $13 billion in medical costs could be saved annually.

Dean Pediatrician, Dr. Thomas Murwin, says the number of babies saved could actually be higher.  Murwin says if it was possible to measure these things more accurately that the numbers would change.

The findings are based on evidence that suggests breast-feeding may help prevent many costly and sometimes deadly illnesses, such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and even childhood leukemia. It's also been shown to combat ear infections, diabetes and asthma.

These figures are only estimates but several experts say the analysis seems sound.


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